I was in Home Depot yesterday trying to buy a vacuum cleaner. I was talking to the sales guy when a woman with two small kids walked up and joined the conversation. She and I had the same basic needs. Something that works but does not cost $500. Also something small and extra suction-y would be nice.
The sales guy was showing us a Hoover and a Bissell and explaining the differences between the two. One vacuum cleaner cost $99 and required bags. The other cost $169 and required no bags. Both the woman and I selected the $169 version and we were pushing the boxes onto our carts when the woman's husband joined the vacuum cleaner circle. The conversation about the bagless vacuum cleaner versus the bagged vacuum cleaner was repeated. The husband was not pleased with his wife's decision.
"What the hell are you doing? That one cost $70 more. Just get the one that needs bags," he said.
"No," said the wife.
"No?? What the fuck! We can't just throw money away!" he said. Let me just say that from the size of the diamonds in this woman's ears and the drape of the cashmere overcoat this fucker was wearing, $70 was most assuredly not an issue at their house.
"I do not want a bagged vacuum cleaner," the wife calmly replied. Her children were playing with drill bits on the floor next to her.
"Well maybe we just won't get you one then. How would you like that?" He folded his arms across his chest for extra manly emphasis.
Here is the part where Nina loses her mind. Perhaps it was the part where he used the pronoun "you" in reference to her vacuum cleaner, as if it was some sort of special treat for her to own a cleaning implement. I did a quick calculation as to how rude it would be for me to intervene and get into their business. Result: 10. I made another calculation as to how much I disliked the droid this perfectly nice woman as married to. Result: 10. I calculated again whether I cared if I got into a screaming fight with a stranger at Home Depot. Result: 1.232. And then my filter malfunctioned.
I looked at the man.
He looked at me.
"She will be the one using the vacuum cleaner and she will be the one who has to run all over town with two small children with the serial number for the bags written on the back of an envelope. She won't be able to find the bags. If she can find them, she'll have to buy fifty and then find a place to store them in your too small apartment. Then she'll be out of bags and there will be people coming over for cocktails in half an hour and there will be no bags and the floors will be filthy and she will be mortified. Another $70 for bagless is a bargain."
"Who the fuck..."
"SEEE?" interjected the wife. "SEE? She gets me!"
The man unfolded his arms and puffed up his chest, real big-like.
"Who the fuck asked you?"
"Just saying," I said. "You will not be the one who has to manage all the problems caused by this bagged vacuum cleaner. She will. Therefore, it's her decision."
"It's none of your goddamned business!" he said.
The wife interjected, "Don't you yell at her! She gets it! You don't get it!"
"Well both of you can shut up," he said.
"She's RIGHT, asshole!" said the wife.
"Look," I said. "Obviously I should not interfere but as you said, this vacuum cleaner will be hers, so. Shouldn't she be the one to choose it?"
The husband's face turned purple. The sales guy stood there, gob-jawed, watching the husband and wife hurl insults at each other until finally, the woman won and got her vacuum cleaner. Before they turned and stomped off to enjoy the rest of their happy marriage, the woman turned to me and said, "Thank you. Clearly, I married a complete prick."
All of this in front of their two children in a public warehouse store.
Yeah, so, anyway. I have never done anything like that before in my life and I am still a lot freaked out that I did. But I was in just the right foul mood and just the right vacuum cleaner moment and that guy was, as his wife so said, a complete prick. And the filter that lives up there in my teeth malfunctioned and you see the results. I am insane.
Thank you for reading. And have a good Monday.